Blogs

Can The Arts Help Save Rural America?

From The Huffington Post:

As post-recession, rural America continues to struggle, some rural leaders, using private and public funding, are experimenting with the arts as a tool to fuel economic and community development like they did for White Sulfur Springs.

The National Endowment for the Arts is helping by giving $125,000 in seed money to fund a “Next Generation” initiative to help build arts hubs in rural America. The idea is to connect artists, arts groups, civic leaders and philanthropists and encourage them to create sustainable cultural scenes in rural communities to help spur economic development and entice new, young residents.

How Can We Support Artists in the New Economy?

GIA conference blogger Ebony McKinney summarizes the session Artists and the New Economy, held on Tuesday, October 18:

Alexis Frasz, of Helicon Collaborative, began by explaining that the research group which included Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) started with a design challenge:
What are the conditions in which artists live and work today and what will it look like for them to live sustainably, create good work and contribute to their communities? Also: Where is our support system now in terms of what we think is ideal? If its not there, what would we do to adjust it?

This field-wide temperature check and list of implications resulted in Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting US Artists, released in September 2016, with support from Surdna Foundation and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. This report is somewhat of a refresh of Investing in Creativity, a 2006 paper from the Urban Institute authored by Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson. One of the major innovations of Jackson’s analysis was a framework that contained six structures that artists need to do their work. Validation, Demands and Markets, Material Supports, Training, Communities and Networks, and Information remain a focal point today.

Read the full post.

Race and Place

Lara Davis reports on her Monday session at the 2016 GIA Conference:

Today, I had the opportunity to attend a session highlighting the work of cultural partnership in Montgomery, Alabama entitled, “Creative Placemaking in the Racialized South.” Reading the session description, I was drawn in by two things: one, the focus on Black community; two, the description of geography within the context of race. I wanted to get a sense for what the emphasis on social identity and place is yielding in a region that is as Black as it is White. (I am Black, and live in Seattle where the population of Black people is 8%.)

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Beauty, Justice and Alternate Finance

Ebony McKinney reports from Saint Paul on Monday sessions at the 2016 GIA Conference:

Creativity Connections, a report recently released by Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) and National Endowent for the Arts (NEA) summarize current trends that play a role in artists ability to have healthy creative practices and features systems that support or fall short in supporting artist endeavours. Among those fundings, (Judilee) Reed brought focus to:
  • Artists moving from conventional discipline based systems of creation and presenting such as gallery presentations and dance performances to hybrid contexts that utilize their training in new ways and to reflect larger community concerns like social justice, urban planning, public architecture, health and human services
  • Further suggestions that economic conditions for artists imitate challenges in other segments of the work force really related to the gig economy. For example, high cost of housing, insufficient protections and limited access to capital to push forward enterprises

While I think everyone in the room understands that contributed income is important, other types of financial support have to be considered and included. In this scenario the resources, beyond the $2B described above, could potentially be expanded to include other resource systems. This could have transformational and lasting effects for arts and culture and for the last few years, Surdna, Kresge and others have been looking to alternative finance – “financial channels and instruments that lie outside of traditional finance systems such as commercial lending or banks” according to Reed.

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We Must Build Together

Ebony McKinney posts from the 2016 GIA Conference:

It was a wonderful dense day, and I along with several participants lamented how little time was left for reflection. Ideas about cultivating new modes of adaptive leadership, surfacing covert and overt inequities in organizations, making difficult left turns, creating space for artists with disabilities and networks, finance tools and leadership pathways to support creative lives swirled. Much to consider, much to do, but really at the end of the day I’m left with a feeling of steely optimism, intention and the mural/poem on the back wall of Intermedia Arts.

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Lara Davis: Arts Education Preconference Reflection

Lara Davis posts from the 2016 GIA Conference in Saint Paul, Minnesota:

This year, I began my GIA Conference as co-facilitator for the “Access to a Lifetime of Arts Education: Every Child, Every Adult” preconference. My pal and coconspirator in the work of racial justice, consultant and theatre teaching artist Tina LaPadula, joined me to lead a session on Social Justice Essentials for Arts Funders. We kicked off this day of learning and dialogue centered on arts education, data, and creative aging with an engaged crew of thirty plus grantmakers from across the nation, representing family foundations, government, and corporate giving.

Read the full post.

See You in Saint Paul!

The 2016 GIA Conference is taking place Sunday, October 16 to Wednesday, October 19. The GIA Conference provides the only opportunity for arts grantmakers from across the country to come together to share knowledge and ideas, develop collective strategies, and learn about the latest initiatives in arts grantmaking. GIA will post live updates throughout the conference on its Twitter and Facebook pages.

Darren Walker on the Role of Art in Confronting Inequality

As part of a lecture series at Rothko Chapel, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker recently spoke with Sarah Lewis, author and Harvard professor, about the intersection of the arts and human rights. Audio and video recordings of the talk are available online.

Lisa Cremin Receives 2016 Governor’s Award for the Arts & Humanities

Lisa Cremin, a director with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and former GIA board member, has been recognized with a 2016 Governor’s Award for the Arts & Humanities. Cremin began working with the Community Foundation in 1993 and under her guidance its arts fund has grown to its current size of $9.2 million and in its lifetime has given away more than $12 million. She has been a dedicated advocate and evangelist for small to mid-sized arts organizations — groups producing powerful work — that provide access to the arts to underserved communities.

Mara Manus Joins New York State Council on the Arts as Executive Director

The New York State Council on the Arts had announced Mara Manus as the agency’s new executive director. Manus has served as executive director of the Public Theater in New York City as well as a program officer at the Ford Foundation. Previous roles also include director of Playwrights of New York, executive director of The Film Society of Lincoln Center and founding director of the Arthur Miller Foundation and Southampton Arts Center.